Protecting the Aquifer

In Gibsons, we have been blessed with favorable access to the Gibsons Aquifer, a pure groundwater resource which provides potable water to the Town’s three water zones. It’s a pristine, award-winning and irreplaceable natural asset and we take our stewardship of it very seriously.

In 2012, for example, the Town completed the installation of a universal water metering system at a cost of $1.5 million. This initiative delivered many important benefits, helping us to identify and repair hidden leaks and, perhaps most importantly, to raise our collective awareness of water use. At the same time, our finance department implemented a new “user-pay” system, along with appropriate water rates, in order to cover the operation, maintenance and future replacement costs of Gibson’s water infrastructure.

Together, these initiatives have led to a dramatic decline in our community’s water use. In fact, between 2008 and 2019, our Town’s per capita water usage dropped by more than half, from approximately 800 litres per day to approximately 350 litres per day.

Another large investment the Town’s taxpayers have made in recent years is the commissioning of a grant-assisted four-year mapping study of the Gibsons Aquifer. Completed in 2013, at a total cost of $500,000, this comprehensive, science-based water-strategy document has become a key resource for any person contemplating projects that might impact the aquifer, from the Town’s planners to the province’s environmental officers.

Gibson’s Official Community Plan envisions us adding approximately 5,000 residents to the Town over the next 20 years (for a total population of 10,000). As our population grows, the Aquifer Mapping Study prescribes gathering detailed information about the long-term effects of variables such as user demand, climate change, and sea level rise on the aquifer’s total capacity. Accordingly, the Town implemented an annual groundwater monitoring program in 2009, so that we are consistently able to make sound, fact-based decisions about our future build-out.

The Town has followed an extensive and exhaustive review process to ensure that the Gibsons Aquifer will be protected once the George Project gets underway. This video summarizes the results of this review and explains how the site clean-up and subsequent construction process will take place so that our aquifer remains safe at every stage of site development.

We have also provided responses to a number of Frequently Asked Questions about Aquifer Protection in relation to the George.